MAKING THE INTERNE T THRIVE IN GREECE Social & Economic Barriers

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1 MAKING THE INTERNE T THRIVE IN GREECE Social & Economic Barriers Costas Troulos Elias Demian Aggelos Tsakanikas December 2012 IΔΡΥΜΑ ΟΙΚΟΝΟΜΙΚΩΝ & ΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΩΝ ΕΡΕΥΝΩΝ FOUNDATION FOR ECONOMIC & INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH Τσάμη Καρατάσου 11, Αθήνα, Tηλ.: , Fax: , 11 Tsami Karatassou, Athens, Greece, Tel.: , Fax:

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3 Editorial Policy The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of other organisations that may support, finance or cooperate with the Foundation. IOBE The Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research is a private, non - profit, public benefit research organisation. Its purpose is to promote research on current problems and prospects of the Greek Economy and its sectors and to generate reliable information, analysis and proposals for action that can be of value to policy makers. The study is kindly supported by Copyright 2012 Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) 11, Tsami Karatasou Str, Athens Tel. ( ), Fax:( ),

4 CONTENTS Συνοπτική Επισκόπηση 3 Executive Summary 7 Introduction The state of Internet use in Greece today: facts and dynamics 1.1 Individuals/Households 1.2 Businesses 1.3 Government 1.4 The dynamics in the Greek services ecosystem Factors affecting the supply and demand of the Internet 2.1 Transaction Security and Commercial Trust 2.2 Social Factors 2.3 Lack of quality 2.4 Intellectual Property and Privacy Issues 2.5 Complex interface and time consuming processes Internet opportunities for the Greek economy and society 3.1 Transparency 3.2 Simplicity 3.3 Accessibility Challenging the state of things 4.1 Recommendations for service providers and businesses 4.2 Recommendations for consumers and users 4.3 Recommendations for the public sector Appendix 43

5 Συνοπτική Επισκόπηση Το διαδίκτυο και οι ηλεκτρονικές υπηρεσίες αποτελούν σήμερα μέσο διασύνδεσης εκατομμυρίων χρηστών παγκοσμίως. Πλήθος συναλλαγών μεταξύ πολιτών, επιχειρήσεων και του δημοσίου απέχουν μόνο μερικά «κλικ» από τη διεκπεραίωσή τους, εξοικονομώντας, χρόνο, κόστος, ακόμα και ενεργειακούς πόρους. Η χρήση του διαδικτύου στην Ελλάδα αυξάνεται, με ρυθμό βραδύτερο από τον Ευρωπαϊκό μέσο όρο Στην Ελλάδα ωστόσο το ποσοστό των Ελλήνων που χρησιμοποιεί και αξιοποιεί τις ευκαιρίες που παρέχει το διαδίκτυο σήμερα παρά τη βελτίωση των τελευταίων ετών παραμένει χαμηλότερο του ευρωπαϊκού μέσου όρου, όπως τουλάχιστον γίνεται εμφανές από διάφορους επίσημους δείκτες. Στους πολίτες, ο ρυθμός σύνδεσης στο διαδίκτυο τα τελευταία 8 έτη έχει τριπλασιαστεί, ωστόσο υστερεί σημαντικά σε σχέση με τον ευρωπαϊκό μέσο όρο. Το 2011 μόλις οι μισοί Έλληνες ιδιώτες εμφανίζονται συνδεδεμένοι σε ευρυζωνικά δίκτυα, ενώ το υπόλοιπο μέρος του πληθυσμού, φαίνεται διστακτικό έως αρνητικό στο να συνδεθεί. Αντίθετα, πιο ικανοποιητική είναι η εικόνα στο ποσοστό των επιχειρήσεων που χρησιμοποιούν το διαδίκτυο σε καθημερινή βάση, με αποτέλεσμα να υπολείπονται ελάχιστα σε σχέση με τον αντίστοιχο ευρωπαϊκό μέσο όρο. Τέλος, παρά τις σημαντικές προσπάθειες για την πλήρη ψηφιοποίηση των υπηρεσιών του κράτους, τα επίπεδα ηλεκτρονικής διακυβέρνησης στην Ελλάδα, υστερούν επίσης σημαντικά από τα αντίστοιχα ευρωπαϊκά. Παράγοντες που περιορίζουν τη διάδοση του διαδικτύου στην Ελλάδα Οι βασικοί παράγοντες που εξηγούν την βραδύτερη διείσδυση του διαδικτύου, αλλά και της χρήσης σχετικών υπηρεσιών στη χώρα είναι κατά σειρά σημαντικότητας οι εξής. (i) ασφάλεια συναλλαγών και επιχειρηματική / εμπορική εμπιστοσύνη (ii) κοινωνικοί παράγοντες (γλώσσα, κουλτούρα, έλλειψη σχετικών δεξιοτήτων, κτλ) (iii) χαμηλή ποιότητα ηλεκτρονικών υπηρεσιών (iv) θέματα που σχετίζονται με πνευματικά δικαιώματα και δικαιώματα χρήσης και (v) σύνθετες/χρονοβόρες διαδικασίες. Μέσα από συνεντεύξεις με διάφορους φορείς, αλλά και την αξιολόγηση της σχετικής βιβλιογραφίας επισημαίνονται οι βασικές αιτίες / ειδικά χαρακτηριστικά που ως ένα βαθμό ερμηνεύουν την παρουσία των παραπάνω παραγόντων: 3

6 Ασφάλεια συναλλαγών και επιχειρηματική / εμπορική εμπιστοσύνη Χαμηλή εμπιστοσύνη προς τις online επιχειρηματικές πρακτικές Οι χρήστες ανησυχούν για την ασφάλεια των προσωπικών τους δεδομένων κατά τις διαδικτυακές τους αγορές, ενώ δείχνουν να επηρεάζονται σημαντικά από αρνητικά δημοσιεύματα του τύπου. Κοινωνικοί παράγοντες (γλώσσα, κουλτούρα, έλλειψη σχετικών δεξιοτήτων, κτλ) H χρήση του διαδικτύου περιορίζεται σημαντικά από την απουσία γνώσης ξένων γλωσσών, ιδιαίτερα ανάμεσα στους χρήστες μεγαλύτερης ηλικίας. Γενικότερα, η χρήση των ηλεκτρονικών μέσων για τη διεκπεραίωση συναλλαγών απουσιάζει από την ευρύτερη ελληνική κουλτούρα Οι κρατικές πολιτικές υστερούν ακόμα στην παροχή κατάλληλων ηλεκτρονικών δεξιοτήτων τόσο προς τους ιδιώτες όσο και τις επιχειρήσεις. Τα έργα και οι πρωτοβουλίες των δημοσίων υπηρεσιών για την προώθηση μιας υγιούς διαδικτυακής κουλτούρας είναι κατακερματισμένες και πολλές φορές δεν έχουν θεσμικό χαρακτήρα. Χαμηλή ποιότητα ηλεκτρονικών υπηρεσιών Τα κόστη για τη συντήρηση υψηλής ποιότητας διαδικτυακού περιεχομένου και υπηρεσιών μακροπρόθεσμα είναι υψηλά, αποθαρρύνοντας τους επιχειρηματίες. Οι οικονομίες κλίμακας είναι σημαντικές για την υποστήριξη βιώσιμων μακροχρόνιων λειτουργιών αλλά εξαιρετικά δύσκολο να επιτευχθούν στην αγορά ειδικά κατά τη διάρκεια της οικονομικής ύφεσης. Η περιορισμένη πρόσβαση σε γρήγορα ευρυζωνικά δίκτυα αποτρέπει την περαιτέρω ανάπτυξη υπηρεσιών ήχου και εικόνας υψηλής ποιότητας. Η παράδοση κατ οίκον των αγαθών που έχουν αγοραστεί ηλεκτρονικά δεν ακολουθεί πάντα συγκεκριμένα πρότυπα. Η εταιρική ηλεκτρονική κουλτούρα είναι σε ορισμένες περιπτώσεις ανώριμη επηρεάζοντας αρνητικά την ποιότητα των παρεχόμενων υπηρεσιών και φυσικά την εμπειρία του χρήστη. Οι δημόσιες υπηρεσίες δεν είναι λεπτομερώς σχεδιασμένες, ενώ συχνά παρουσιάζονται σημαντικά λειτουργικά κενά. Οι δημόσιες πολιτικές υστερούν στην προώθηση επενδύσεων που θα τονώσουν τη ζήτηση. Σύνθετες / χρονοβόρες διαδικασίες Απουσία προτυποποιημένων διαδικασιών Αργές και μη αξιόπιστες συνδέσεις Θέματα που σχετίζονται με πνευματικά δικαιώματα και δικαιώματα χρήσης. Οι επιχειρηματίες ανησυχούν για την προστασία των πνευματικών τους δικαιωμάτων από διάφορες μορφές κακόβουλων επιθέσεων. 4

7 Making the Internet thrive in Greece: Social and economic barriers Συνεπώς: Απουσιάζει από τις επιχειρήσεις η εταιρική κουλτούρα αλλά και η παραγωγική/ λειτουργική δομή που στοχεύει στην παραγωγή υψηλής ποιότητας υπηρεσιών μακροπρόθεσμα. Οι καταναλωτές δείχνουν χαμηλά επίπεδα εμπιστοσύνης προς τις εγχώριες επιχειρήσεις που δραστηριοποιούνται στο ηλεκτρονικό εμπόριο και ανησυχούν για την ασφάλεια των προσωπικών τους δεδομένων. Άλλο εμπόδιο που περιορίζει σημαντικά τη χρήση υπηρεσιών ηλεκτρονικού εμπορίου και γενικότερα τη διάδοση των ηλεκτρονικών υπηρεσιών είναι και η ξένη γλώσσα. Οι πρωτοβουλίες του κράτους για την ενίσχυση της παροχής και ζήτησης υπηρεσιών ηλεκτρονικής διακυβέρνησης έχει αποδειχθεί σε αρκετές περιπτώσεις κατακερματισμένη και ανεπαρκής. Η διάχυση των ηλεκτρονικών υπηρεσιών δημιουργεί οφέλη σε τρεις άξονες Το διαδίκτυο και η ανάπτυξη ηλεκτρονικών υπηρεσιών μπορούν να προσφέρουν πρόσθετες ευκαιρίες σε όλους τους παίκτες σε μια οικονομία. Η άρση, η έστω η σταδιακή άμβλυνση των υφιστάμενων εμποδίων για τη διάδοση του διαδικτύου και των υπηρεσιών που βασίζονται σε αυτό θα μπορούσε να συνεισφέρει με απτά οφέλη σε τρεις τουλάχιστον διαστάσεις, που αφορούν εξίσου το Δημόσιο, τους πολίτες και τις επιχειρήσεις: Διαφάνεια, απλοποίηση διαδικασιών και προσβασιμότητα. Διαφάνεια Μέσα από τη χρήση του Διαδικτύου οι πολίτες μπορούν να συγκεντρώσουν ένα πολύ μεγαλύτερο όγκο πληροφορίας σχετικά με τις αγορές τους και τα προϊόντα / υπηρεσίες που επιθυμούν να καταναλώσουν, ενώ οι σχέσεις συναλλαγής τυποποιούνται και γίνονται πιο διαφανείς. Παράλληλα, στο επίπεδο της σχέσης με το Κράτος, μπορεί να ενισχυθεί η εμπιστοσύνη των πολιτών προς τους θεσμούς μέσω της ανοικτότητας των διαδικασιών και της συμμετοχής σε σχετικές διαβουλεύσεις. Σε επιχειρηματικούς όρους τέλος το διαδίκτυο και οι ηλεκτρονικές υπηρεσίες αποτελούν πρώτης τάξεως εργαλείο προώθησης (marketing tool), καθώς η διαφάνεια αποκτά κεντρικό ρόλο στις Β2Β και Β2C συναλλαγές. Απλοποίηση Διαδικασιών Η είσοδος στον κόσμο του διαδικτύου συνεπάγεται την πρόσβαση σε σειρά ηλεκτρονικών εργαλείων που μπορούν εκτός των άλλων- να βελτιώσουν σημαντικά την αποδοτικότητα των διαδικασιών. Τα αποτελέσματα είναι άμεσα ορατά τόσο στην πλευρά της προσφοράς (επιχειρήσεις και Δημόσιο) όσο και στην πλευρά της ζήτησης (ιδιώτες). Ένα σχετικό παράδειγμα είναι οι υπηρεσίες ηλεκτρονικών προμηθειών, μέσα από τις οποίες τόσο οι επιχειρήσεις όσο και το κράτος μπορεί να εξοικονομήσει άμεσα πόρους, διασφαλίζοντας παράλληλα ένα 5

8 ικανοποιητικό επίπεδο ποιότητας αγαθών ή και υπηρεσιών. Παράλληλα διευκολύνονται οι ηλεκτρονικές συναλλαγές του κοινού με δημόσιους οργανισμούς, καθώς απαιτείται μόνο ένας συνδεδεμένος υπολογιστής, απλοποιώντας διαδικασίες που μέχρι πρόσφατα ήταν χρονοβόρες και συχνά αναποτελεσματικές. Προσβασιμότητα Η σύνδεση στο Διαδίκτυο βελτιώνει την πρόσβαση στην πληροφορία. Για παράδειγμα η ανάπτυξη του cloud computing τα τελευταία χρόνια δημιούργησε ένα νέο παράθυρο «ηλεκτρονικής ευκινησίας» σε παγκόσμια κλίμακα. Για παράδειγμα πλέον η ιδέα της τηλε-εργασίας ή της εργασίας από το σπίτι υλοποιείται χωρίς να υπάρχουν περιορισμοί. Εξάλλου, ο κάθε πολίτης μπορεί να δημιουργήσει πολυμεσικό περιεχόμενο, χρήσιμο ενδεχομένως σε άλλους χρήστες, μπορεί να ενημερώσει για μια σειρά από ζητήματα την υπόλοιπη παγκόσμια κοινωνία και βέβαια μπορεί να επικοινωνήσει την επιχειρηματική του ιδέα. Σημαντικές προοπτικές εμφανίζονται για παράδειγμα στην εξασφάλιση πόρων που στηρίζουν καινοτόμες ιδέες και επιχειρηματικά σχέδια (πχ. Crowdfunding), αλλά και την πρόσβαση σε νέες αγορές. Προτάσεις Για την άρση των εμποδίων στην περαιτέρω διάδοση του διαδικτύου πρέπει να επικοινωνηθούν με κάθε δυνατό τρόπο τα ακόλουθα: Στον επιχειρηματικό τομέα η χρήση του διαδικτύου δεν μπορεί να είναι αποσπασματική ή περιφερειακή. Αντίθετα, ειδικά σε ορισμένους κλάδους πρέπει να είναι καθημερινή πρακτική η οποία θα πλαισιώνει την επιχειρηματική τους στρατηγική. Αυτό μπορεί να σημαίνει εγγραφή των επιχειρήσεων σε δίκτυα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, χρήση απλών εφαρμογών cloud computing και γενικότερες δράσεις που θα βελτιώσουν την παρουσία τους στον ιστό. Το διαδίκτυο αποτελεί αρωγό των καινοτόμων επιχειρήσεων καθώς βοηθά στην επίτευξη οικονομιών κλίμακας συντομότερα με αποτέλεσμα οι επιχειρήσεις να διαφοροποιούνται μέσα σε ένα διαρκώς απαιτητικό περιβάλλον. Οι πολίτες μπορούν να ωφεληθούν από το Διαδίκτυο, σε όρους κόστους και χρόνου, ενώ η ηλεκτρονική τους παρουσία μπορεί να τους ωφελήσει επαγγελματικά και κοινωνικά, καθώς εύκολα μπορούν να δημιουργηθούν νέες οικονομικές ευκαιρίες. Όμως, πρέπει να εξηγηθούν και οι μέθοδοι προστασίας τους από κακόβουλες διαδικτυακές ενέργειες. 6 Τέλος ο δημόσιος τομέας πρέπει να υιοθετήσει ένα πιο ενεργό ρόλο στο οικοσύστημα των παρεχόμενων υπηρεσιών προς τους πολίτες. Δημιουργώντας μια ολοκληρωμένη πλατφόρμα από υπηρεσίες, καλλιεργείται και αυξάνεται και η σχετική ζήτηση με αποτέλεσμα τη γοργή μετάβαση στην κοινωνία της πληροφορίας. Σε επίπεδο πολιτικής, το κράτος πρέπει να λάβει τον ενεργό ρόλο του, βοηθώντας με κάθε δυνατό τρόπο τον ψηφιακό/ηλεκτρονικό μετασχηματισμό, με ταυτόχρονη παροχή σχετικών κινήτρων τα οποία θα αναθερμάνουν το ενδιαφέρον τόσο των επιχειρήσεων όσο και των ιδιωτών.

9 Executive Summary The Internet connects billions of users worldwide, providing the necessary infrastructure for the development of modern services that facilitate our daily life in different ways. Today various transactions between individuals, businesses and the State can be completed with only a few clicks, saving time, energy and resources. Expansion of Internet use, slower compared to EU However, it seems that significant asymmetries exist in Greece today, as a rather limited part of the society is aware and benefitting from the opportunities provided by the Internet. The adoption of online services is slower compared with the European average rates, as measured by various indicators. In fact, even though there is progress in most of the surveyed areas, Greeks lag behind in important aspects of Internet diffusion. Among individuals, the Internet take-up rate has more than tripled over the past 8 years, remaining however below the European average. In 2011, half of Greek individuals had broadband access to the Internet, while the other half presented quite strong and conscious reasoning for not wanting to get connected (the unwilling mass). On the other side, the majority of entrepreneurs are connected and the gap (when compared to the EU) is small yet significant. Finally, despite the great effort to create a full spectrum of e-government services in the public sector, more steps are still required at the level of both supply and demand (i.e. the use of the Internet by citizens and businesses). Factors hindering Internet diffusion in Greece The study identifies and explains the reasons for the slower than anticipated (at least at the beginning of the 2000s) growth of Internet use in Greece. A series of factors hindering e-services adoption were identified, based on our empirical research. These factors can be summarized as follows: (i) limited commercial trust and user concerns for transactions security, (ii) factors connected with social background, (iii) low quality of available Greek electronic services, (iv) intellectual property rights and privacy issues and (v) complex/time consuming processes. Our analysis highlights specific characteristics that explain the resilience of the above factors, despite progress during the last decade: 7

10 Limited commercial trust and user concerns for transaction security: Commercial trust towards online business is poor. Users are concerned about the security of their identity and online privacy. Internet users are often intimidated by the media s negative coverage of Internet privacy incidents. Social factors Older people tend to speak only Greek while younger people do not always feel confident with their second language. Greek society is not very familiar with electronic transactions and services. Policy actions by the Greek government fall behind in helping individuals and professional acquiring the necessary e-skills, being fragmented and lacking an institutional approach. Low quality of available Greek electronic services: The costs for maintaining high-quality Internet content and services in the long run are high, thus discouraging local service providers from entering or staying in the market. The economies of scale, that are vital to support sustainable long-term operations, are not easy to be achieved during the recession. Home delivery of physical goods and services does not always meet customer expectations. Corporate culture towards Internet business is poor, affecting negatively the quality of service and user experience. Public policies are not properly designed to promote supply-side investments. Public services are not carefully planned and are rarely end-to-end. Complex/time consuming processes: Lack of a standardized interface. Slow and sometimes unreliable connections. Intellectual property rights and privacy issues: Businesses and entrepreneurs are concerned about the protection of their intellectual property rights. Hence: Businesses lack the corporate culture and the operational structure to deliver high-quality content and services in the long-term. Consumers have low confidence in the domestic e-commerce businesses and are often over-concerned about their privacy and the security of their personal information. Furthermore the language seems to frequently create a barrier for consuming non-greek content and services. 8

11 Making the Internet thrive in Greece: Social and economic barriers Public sector s initiative to promote the demand for and the supply of electronic services has proven fragmented and insufficient. E-services adoption and the three dimensional framework of its effects Regardless of the inherent characteristics of society and business that hinder the wide use of electronic services, Internet provides excellent opportunities for all the agents of the economy. Overcoming the existing barriers can provide more opportunities for improvement in three dimensions: transparency, simplicity and accessibility. Transparency Through the adoption of modern Internet services, customers can obtain a relatively good amount of information regarding future purchases, maximizing their gain in the long run. Moreover, public trust towards the institutions is being reinforced through direct access to information through the Internet, boosting openness at the governmental level. Finally, Internet and electronic services can act as a marketing tool, improving transparency on a corporate level, through the publication of annual CSR reports, special achievements in R&D and so forth. Simplicity Internet adoption gives access to a broad series of e-tools that, inter alia, can improve considerably the efficiency of operation. The results are obvious both on the supply (firms and government) and the demand side (individuals). E-procurement can be a relevant example, through which firms and governments can minimize their running costs, while ensuring a minimum level of quality. Thus, competitiveness the key ingredient for economic development can be an easier target to obtain. Moreover, more electronic interactions with the public organizations can take place from a connected devise, significantly simplifying procedures that often are unpleasant and time consuming. Accessibility Internet connected computer networks improve accessibility. For example, the development of cloud computing during the past few years has enhanced mobility, worldwide. Moreover, with the extensive use of simple network facilities, the idea of working from home has spread over the European labor market, since the benefits of its application are numerous both for the economy and the environment. In addition, global Internet diffusion has created the vital base for transmitting high quality content, both for entrepreneurs and individuals, with practically 9

12 minimum costs. Local insight and specialized expertise is critically important in today s globalized economy and this creates an advantage for local start-ups over established giants in respective industries (e.g. the media industry). Finally, it appears that Internet can open new, modern paths for funding, promoting innovation not only on a national level, but globally (i.e. crowd funding). Innovation can become a major differentiator for the local economy, underpinned by faster Internet access and the ability to remotely manage decentralized production and operations. Challenging the state of things - Recommendations All parties involved in the Greek market need to leverage Internet services for economic growth. To this end we offer a set of recommendations for businesses, individuals and the government. Enterprises should endorse the use of the Internet as a standard practice and not conceive it as a complement to their business strategy. This may involve engaging in the social media space, improving the corporate online presence, installing Cloud Computing services, offering better quality services and customer support. Internet helps innovative enterprises achieve scale faster and makes their value proposition a major differentiator in the global economy. The main requirement is a sound and long-term entrepreneurial model around an innovative service that will help the businesses grow in Greece and expand internationally. Individuals can benefit from becoming more active participants and content contributors in the Internet space. Their exposure, both professional and social, can develop significant economic opportunities. At the same time, consumers must understand how to protect themselves and their families from threats arising from the careless use of the Internet. Finally, the public sector should adopt a more active role as a supplier of integrated public services to the citizens. Creating useful end-to-end public services communicates the right signal to the consumers and the service providers, stimulating in the meantime the demand for advanced electronic services. On the policy side, the Government has to act as an adequate regulator, sponsoring the digital/electronic transformation of the economy and providing the right incentives to encourage this change. Businesses as much as individuals respond to incentives and therefore setting the right ones is a key element of all successful public policies. 10

13 Introduction Internet adoption nowadays has altered dramatically our daily life. Beyond doubt, the Internet and the services it enables (e-services) are creating opportunities for more efficient economic activities all across society. Businesses that adopt Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and endorse Internet services as an integral part of their business strategy, aim at increased competitiveness by effectively lowering their marginal costs of production and service delivery. Individuals and consumers on the other hand can purchase a service or a product easier, with just a few mouse clicks, and typically at better prices than those of a physical store. Finally, public organizations can leverage the Internet reach to improve their services and the overall citizens satisfaction. In the last decade, Internet penetration rates as well as the level of use of the Internet in Greece improved dramatically. However, the country is still trailing in the OECD and EU ranking. This study is conducted by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (FEIR/IOBE) and is targeted at identifying and analyzing the critical factors that prevent the use of Internet services in Greece. The focus of the study is on the factors that impede the commercial and social exploitation of the Internet and translate to limited growth of e-commerce, e-government and other services by and for individuals, businesses and the public sector in Greece, today. The report is structured in 5 chapters. The first chapter begins with the landscape assessment of Internet and e-service diffusion in Greece compared to other European countries. Data are examined at three levels: households/individuals, businesses and public organizations. It also provides deeper insight to the trends and the characteristics of the Greek services ecosystem. Chapter 2 discusses the factors that are hindering the wide use of the Internet among individuals, businesses and the government. In chapter 3 we identify opportunities for the Greek citizens and businesses stemming from the increased use of the Internet. The concluding chapter provides recommendations for business owners, individuals and policy makers in Greece. Methodology of the study Three methodological tools were used during the research period: desk research, field research (interviews with experts) and finally quantitative and qualitative analysis and verification. Background (desk) Research: The latest available data on Internet penetration, e-services availability/use and other similar qualitative and 11

14 quantitative data for individuals and businesses were extracted from the European statistics database, Eurostat. Similarly, information and data from relevant scientific databases were retrieved. Consultation with experts and users: Interviews with the experts took place in two phases. In phase I, a questionnaire with the all relevant factors hindering e-services diffusion found in the literature were presented to a mixed sample of 94 participants, who were asked to rank the factors importance. The prevalent factors were used as a basis in formulating more detailed questionnaires for phase II. Different questionnaires were distributed per respondent type (policy makers, ICT experts, commercial enterprises, consumers and consumer associations), covering 47 interviewees. Analysis of findings and recommendations: The research team analyzed the results obtained with the questionnaires and the expert interviews. The findings were put to a validation exercise through discussion with some experts, an action that led to the formulation of key recommendations for promoting the e-services diffusion in Greece. Research Methodology Outline Desk Research (Eurostat indexes, literature research, landscape assessment) PHASE I PHASE II Initial Findings/Questionnaire Formulation Consultation with ICT experts, SMEs and consumers Analysis of findings/discussion of recommendations Report 12 } } Field Expertise Create opportunities for firms and consumers

15 The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the facts and basic figures about the use of Internet and e-services in Greece. As a rule, the data are presented at three levels: a) individuals/households, b) businesses and c) Government. Viewed from the perspective of service creation and delivery, these levels represent the major stakeholders of the electronic services market: a) Consumers user communities (individuals/households) are both customers consuming content and services, but they can act also as small scale content providers, b) Businesses are the creators and distributors of content and services, users of B2B and / or B2G services and c) the Public sector (Government) which affects both the supply (investments) and demand for Internet services. Chapter 1 The state of Internet use in Greece today: facts and dynamics Before explaining the interactions of these stakeholders and the dynamics in today s Internet environment in Greece (last section of this chapter), some basic facts are necessary to understand the status quo in the market. 1.1 Individuals/Households The Internet take-up rates have more than tripled over the past 8 years, due to increased demand and significant supply-side public and private investments in services and infrastructure. The statistics, however, indicate that in most cases the country has a long road ahead to arrive at Europe s average. In 2011, a little over half of the Greek households were connected to the Internet with 72% of them accessing the web on a daily basis. The corresponding EU27 average of 1 connected households exceeded 73%. As shown in Figure 1.1, Greece ranked 24th in terms of broadband penetration, ahead only of Latvia, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. In 2011, the majority of Greek Internet users (88%) preferred accessing Internet at home, 35% of them at work, while 8% at places of education. Respectively, 93% of the European users accessed Internet at home, 42% at work and 12% at places of education. 1 With at least one member in age group

16 Figure 1.1: Broadband Penetration Rate (number of dedicated high speed connections per 100 inhabitants), January % DK NL FR LU DE SE UK BG MT FI EE CY SI AU ES IR IT CZ LT HU PT GR LV SK PO PG RO 5 Source: Eurostat A significant portion of the Greek households (47%) continues to stay offline. This segment of the population is recognized as the unwilling mass. Typically, their choice is made based on the belief that the Internet has nothing of value to offer (36%). Equally, non-users consider the Internet use as a process that requires extra skills that are difficult to obtain (Figure 1.2). The costs (both for access and equipment) seem to concern less than 15% of the non-users, way below the EU average. Figure 1.2: The Unwilling - Reasons for not having Internet at home, Access not needed Lack of skills Other reasons High access costs High equipment cost Access elswhere Privacy or security concerns Physical disability Source: Benchmarking Digital Europe, 2012home, Greece EU27

17 Making the Internet thrive in Greece: Social and economic barriers Empirical data show that Internet use in Greece is strongly correlated with socioeconomic factors such as age, geographical location, educational background and income. Age is negatively correlated with the use of Internet in Greece, like in most European countries. The most intensive Internet users are people between years old, a trend shared among the EU27. Specifically, nearly eight out of ten youngsters (16-24) have Internet access, while 80% of them are daily users. Moving up the age scale, only 11% of Greeks between years old use the Internet at least once a week, a percentage much lower than the EU27 average (40%). This age divide can be observed across all member-countries, but the gap is strikingly wider in Greece. Generally, the divergence with the European averages is closing among younger users, while the gap for older age groups is widening. Education is positively related to Internet usage. The Greek students are the social group exhibiting the highest Internet penetration with rates exceeding 94%, slightly lower than the EU27 average (96%). Individuals with high formal educational background (academia, researchers etc) are also highly connected, with 80% of them using Internet and e-services frequently. On the other hand, Internet take-up rates amongst people with lower formal educational backgrounds are much lower (40%). Nevertheless, Internet diffusion over the past decade has been improving across all educational levels. Annual disposable income exhibits a strong positive relation with Internet usage in Greece. The use of Internet for education, e-commerce, communication and multimedia consumption generally increases with income. In 2010 almost half of the individuals with annual income over 75,000 were using the Internet for ing, while only 14% of less than 25,000 earners accessed the Internet for that reason. The same trend is repeated among EU27 members while the equivalent averages are considerably higher (72% and 32% respectively). Regional differences referring mostly to the degree of urbanization and 2 population density - also play a critical role in the penetration of broadband and e-services. In Greece, the majority of Internet users live in Attica, where almost 50% of the population is situated. Internet penetration is considerably weaker in the regions of central Greece and other remote regions. To a great extent, this is the result of the varying quality of the telecommunications infrastructure available in the country. Densely populated areas with higher demand attract private investments that support higher and more reliable Internet connection speeds. Broadband penetration has increased in all regions; still the geographical divide is not closing, being steadily wider than the corresponding EU27 average. The above mentioned factors relate to the significant Internet adoption gap between Greek and European users. By and large, the current economic recession, which diminishes the average disposable income and restrains the incentives for 2 Goldfarb,A., Prince, J., Internet adoption and usage patterns are different: implications for the digital divide. Information Economics and Policy 20,

18 pursuing higher education, is posing a strong threat towards improving Internet penetration and e-services usage. Considering the economic outlook we do not expect these trends to improve in the immediate future. Online activities of Greek Internet users Greek users that are fully versed in the Internet and use electronic services comprehensively are the few, not the many. In 2010 (latest available data), almost 36% of Greek connected users accessed the web for acquiring information on products and/or supplied services. Meanwhile, 32% of the users were online mostly for communicational purposes (sending and receiving s). Also, 28% of Greek Internet users employed the medium as a research tool, while one out of every four Greeks blogged frequently. Less than 18% of the users accessed multimedia services (e.g. subscribing to audiovisual content services). A much smaller portion (6%) used web services to manage personal finance (e-banking) or personal issues of administrative nature (Figure 1.3). In all cases, the performance is significantly below the European average. In fact, a very slow rate of divergence between Greece and EU27 is exhibited in the data for (see Appendix). The pattern of web use in Greece more or less covers the entire spectrum of available services, while based on official data the pattern is relatively stable in time, following similar European trends (see Appendix). Figure 1.3: Internet Use Individuals, GR 60 EU e-banking Multimedia News, blogs Education Source: Eurostat s Info 0 With regards to e-commerce (from the consumer s perspective), the Greek online market grows slowly but steadily (Figure 1.4). The value of the market exceeded 1.6 billion in Despite the abundant e-shops found on the Internet, Greeks remain hesitant. They buy and sell via the Internet less frequently than the average European. In 2011, the number of electronically conducted transactions 16

19 Making the Internet thrive in Greece: Social and economic barriers increased, however less money was spent in each e-sale, mainly because of the contraction in disposable household income and the negative psychology reinforced by the recession Billion Million Figure 1.4: Greek Internet users and Greek online market size, Source: ELTRUN, Greek Online Users (left scale) Online Market Size (right scale) 1.2 Businesses The proliferation of Internet services has opened the door to a whole new set of business models, with an emphasis on improving efficiency in all operational and commercial aspects. This transformation has expanded beyond the narrow boundaries of e-commerce to other business activities and is growing rapidly across the world. A great deal of the everyday transactions between buyers, suppliers and public services (e.g. tax office, customs) that were once equated to bureaucratic and time consuming processes can today be done electronically. Services like e-invoicing, e-sales, e-procurement and e-auctions, are part of the toolbox that ensures corporate efficiency. The financial savings from e-invoicing among the EU27 countries are estimated at 64.5 billion per year. In this section we explore the different aspects of electronic services for businesses as well as their penetration in the domestic market. The Internet connectivity of the Greek businesses lags behind the European average, with 93% of the Greek enterprises having an Internet connection. The EU27 average is 95% regardless of size and turnover (Figure 1.5). Zooming in on smaller firms (mini and micro firms with less than 10 employees) the Internet connectivity rates are considerably lower, mainly due to the lack of appropriate corporate skills and sluggishness in adopting innovative solutions for production enhancement. At any rate, both the Greek and the European averages have steadily improved over the years (see the Appendix). 17

20 Figure 1.5 Percentage of enterprises connected to the Internet, 2011 o NL FI DK LT AT DE ES LU SI SK BE CZ EE FR SE EU27 MT PT IT PO IR GR LV CY HU BG RO Source: Eurostat Greek companies are in the early stages of incorporating the Internet use into their core corporate strategy. Only 4% of the Greek businesses order raw materials and merchandise online. In Europe, the corresponding figure is 19%, giving the European counterparts a strong competitive advantage in terms of production costs. In general, e-procurement services are far more common in the business world than e-sales, as there is a constant need for specific goods and services (e.g. production supplies, maintenance). Fewer companies in Greece offer electronic platforms for online ordering, reservation or booking than in Europe, limiting the electronic market both domestically and internationally. In 2011, only 9% of Greek businesses received orders electronically, against an average of 15% in EU27. Greek firms are gradually appreciating the benefits of running an e-sales and e-procurement platform, however the current economic situation in the country and the limited availability of capital inhibit significant investments. As a result, in 2011 only 4% of the annual Greek entrepreneurial turnover derived from e-commerce (e-sales), a portion significantly lower than the EU27 average of 14%. However, the increasing price awareness of the Greek consumer pushes businesses towards e-business solutions to cut their costs and retail prices (e-businesses exhibit a small fraction of the operational costs of a physical store). Purchasing and selling goods are not the only activities endorsed by online businesses in Greece. In 2011, more than firms issued invoices electronically to the value of 8 million in total. By the end of 2012, the number of firms using e-invoices is expected to increase by another 40% with the total 18

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